• Knitting & Crafting

    4KCBWDAY7 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week – Looking Forward

    Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

    One year from now, when the 5th Knitting & Crochet Blog Week rolls around, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?

    This could be anything from mastering a technique (broomstick lace, entrelac, etc), trying a new yarn or skill, or a long term wish to crochet only from your stash, or knit every stitch in one of the Harmony Guides. Maybe you have no desire or plans for your craft at all, no new element of knitting or crochet that you dream of mastering, in which case write about why that might be. In a year’s time participants will be asked to look back to see if they achieved any goals, no matter how general, and see which house conquered the art of looking forward.

    I have mostly middle to long term goals. I don’t necessarily think I will have done most of these things in the next year, but I do want to do them over the next couple of years. In order that I want to do them in:

    1. Start Sylvi this year. I’ve had the pattern for about a year, and I was able to get 15 skeins of the Peruvia Quick for it in March. The yarn thing was just luck and circumstance, and it is an investment. It will also take a lot of time and skills because I am not a big seamer. This project will test me in many ways.
    2. Hexipuffs: The beginning
      Work on my two sock yarn blankets. I am really wondering if I will ever finish the heixpuff quilt. I am about halfway on the Barn Raising Quilt. I have 44 out of 72 squares I want so far. I am knitting more socks just so I can work on these more. I only work on them a couple of times a year in batches.
    3. Less yarn buying. HAHAH! Well, I’ve cut it down to once a month now which is better than some other times.
    4. More spinning

      More spinning. I really don’t know when or how. Also no more buying of fibre until I actually do spin more. Sadly, I haven’t picked up my hand spindle in months.

    Longer term goals (hopefully within the next 3-5 years): learn to crochet, get a sewing machine, steek a sweater, install a zipper in a sweater.

    I love to knit and craft, but while I have added onto it a bit over the last year or so, I do feel that it’s slowed down. I no longer feel the need to always pick up a project right after I finish the last one. Even more, I am less obsessed with finishing projects. I am enjoying taking it slow, but of course, I won’t ever really drop it for too long like I did in 2009. I’ll keep it up even just for my wrists and hands.

    How about you? What are your knitting and crafting goals?

  • Knitting & Crafting

    4KCBWDAY6 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week – A Tool To Covet

    Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

    Write about your favourite knitting or crochet (or spinning, etc) tool. It can either be a tool directly involved in your craft (knitting needles or crochet hook) or something that makes your craft more pleasurable – be it a special lamp, or stitch markers.

    Is it an item that you would recommend to others, and if so for which applications/tasks do you think it is most suited. Conversely, do you have a tool/accessory that you regret buying? Why does it not work for you?

    Well, I definitely do love my needles. My favourite needles brand is Hiya Hiya. I really do like their stainless steel needles. Most of my needles are generic bamboo needles, but they work fine. I like bamboo over aluminium because they are not cool to touch.

    Other tools I use a lot of: Susan Bates Knit Chek Needle Size and Size Gauge Card, clasp stitch markers, row counters, highlighters for charts, tapestry needle, and project or ziplock bags. I also really like collecting buttons.

    I have a handmade Turkish hand spindle which I like. I purposely bought a Turkish variety so I could wand a ball on it.

    I’d recommend all the above and my new favourite tool, the OttLite:

    This is just one kind of OttLite lamp, but there are many other styles

    I bought this last Boxing Day from Michaels. I’d read some good comments about the OttLite from Ravelry forums, and it is a great lamp. It is bright and reduces eye strain when reading. It is much better than conventional florescent and incandescent lights. I also like halogen lamps to.

    As for tools I regret buying, I don’t really have any. I definitely have a weakness for project bags which no one else really sees because I mostly knit at home. I also got one of those chart readers for free in a yarn club package, it’s nice to have, but not necessary in my opinion. While I think it’d be nice to have an umbrella skein and a ball winder, once again, I don’t really find them that necessary given the price of a good ball winder is $50 these days.

    Now let’s talk wishlist.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    4KCBWDAY4 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week – Colour Review

    Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

    What are your favourite colours for knitted or crocheted projects. Have a think about what colours you seem to favour when yarn shopping and crafting.

    Only after writing this part of your post should you then actually look to see what colours you have used in your projects. Make a quick tally of what colours you have used in your projects over the past year and compare it to the colours you have written about. Compare this, in turn, to the colours that are most dominant in your yarn stash – do they correlate?

    Now think back to your house animal – do the colours you have chosen relate to your animal in anyway – if you are in the house of peacock, for example, are your projects often multicoloured and bright?

    I am starting Knitting and Crochet Blog Week a few days late on Day 4. This colour question is always pertinent. I love colour and knitting has definitely opened my mind what I colours can and can not use, together or separate. Since I knit mostly for myself, I try to find colours that would look good on me.

    Colours I seem to favour: Red, Purple, Blue, as well as neutrals like White and Grey.

    This post is a bit image heavy.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    WIP Wednesdays: Welsh Country Stockings

    It’s been awhile since I put up a WIP post, and I almost forgot about it. Since April 1st, I’ve been working on the Welsh Country Stockings by Nancy Bush from Folk Socks:

    WIP Welsh Country Stockings

    Nancy Bush is still my favourite sock pattern designer even though I always modify her patterns. This one I went all out and converted it to toe-up which meant changing the heel, the toe, and due to shortage yarn, the colour scheme too.

    I am using the fabulous Hazel Knits Artisan Yarn which I got through the sock club last autumn. I still have three skeins of this year which is beautifully dyed and tightly spun. I hope it wears well over time!

    I am working on the leg of the socks. I’ve already done one set of 4 increases and will slowly work up to 72 or 80 stitches depending on how bored I get with them.

    On a final note, I am going to take part in next week’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.This will be my first time participating. I will not answer all the prompts, but there are a couple that I want to post about.

    Have a good Wednesday!

    Have a good weekend! For more WIPs, go to Tami’s Amis.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO Fridays: Amstel Hat

    Amstel Hat

    When I saw this in the magazine, I thought it would be really suitable for my friend G who had requested a hat for her belated birthday gift. She really liked it and even has a wool scarf of the same colour.

    This hat took one lazy Good Friday to make as I watched several shows. This was a true stashbuster as I used Patons Classic Wool leftovers from some legwarmers I made for another friend. I don’t look very good in orange so if G hadn’t like this hat, I’m giving it away to someone else.

    Amstel Hat

    Amstel Hat, started March 29th 2013 AM, finished March 29th 2013 PM.Ravelry Project Page
    Pattern: Amstel Hat by Courtney Kelley from Interweave Knits, Fall 2012.Ravelry Pattern Page
    Made for: G
    Yarn: Patons Classic Wool – old yardage: 223yds/100g – Paprika – had 56g (124yds) and used all but 2g.
    Needles: #8/5.0mm for body and #6/4.0mm for brim long circs
    Modifications & Notes:

    • Techknitter’s Disappearing Loop Cast On
    • Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy BO
    • No other mods, but my gauge was tighter, probably 18 sts = 4”/10cm so it is a small beret.

    Cost of Project: None as the yarn itself was a gift.
    Would I knit it again? Sure, but it would need to be bigger for my own head and hair. Not really my style either, but quick and easy pattern.
    Helpful Links: Techknitter’s Disappearing Loop Cast On and Jeny’s Suprisingly Stretchy BO.

    Have a good weekend! For more FOs, go to Tami’s Amis.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO Fridays: Buttercup


    This project used the frogged yarn from Paris. I wanted something with positive ease for this yarn with lots of nice drape. I also wanted something with a good neckline. I must admit my neckline is a bit bigger than in the pattern, but it’s within reason and I can wear a tank top underneath. It is warm and light.


    Buttercup, started January 24th 2013, finished March 13th 2013.Ravelry Project Page
    Pattern: Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier Ravelry Pattern Page
    Size: Small.
    Sleeves: 17cm/7”
    Underarm to hem: 42cm/16”
    Bust: 40cm/15.5”
    Neckline: 22cm/8.5” W x 15.5cm/6”
    Yarn: Inca Gold Baby Alpaca by Susan Andrew Collection – 100% baby alpaca – 200yds/50grams – used 175g or about 4 skeins out of my 6
    Needles: #4/3.5mm long circ for body and #3/3.25mm long circ and DPNs for sideways garter rib and neck
    Modifications & Notes:

    • Cast on front piece with Cable Cast-On
    • No waist increases.
    • As PiPiBird’s variation on Ravelry: Knit “k4, k2tog” in the penultimate round of body. Knit another round and then did sideways garter rib: CO 14 sts on 3.25mm and knit last stitch with one stitch from the body.
    • Lengthen sleeves to about 36 rows and knit “k2, k2tog” for penultimate row. CO 12 st 3.25mm for sideways garter border for sleeves.

    Lessons Learned: Sideways garter rib.
    Cost of Project: Around $20-25 for the 4 skeins I think.
    Would I knit it again? Doubtful that I would need 2 of these, but this pattern is easy, attractive and appealing especially as written as the sideways garter was fiddly. I recommend it.

    Have a good weekend! For more FOs, go to Tami’s Amis.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO Fridays: Shedir

    Shedir IIThis is my second Shedir. My first Shedir was made over five years ago. I really liked this pattern the first time, and it is one of the items that many knitters and non-knitters alike remark on. I only did the main cable repeat 4 times because a lot of people said the hat was too long. It was a tad too short as it barely touched my ears. It was a beanie and I needed more of a toque. It is warm and light though.

    Shedir IISecondly, since this has been my favourite winter hat, I’ve gotten a lot of use out of it so it has felted over time. When I bought this oddball of Felted Tweed probably in 2008, I had a feeling that I would knit this pattern again.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO Friday: 2012 Review

    Flickr Slide show (does not include all projects done in 2012).

    A year end review of the items I made in 2012. This was my sixth year of knitting. I completed 10 projects (worked on 13). Compare that to the 33 I completed in 2011, the 2012 number is very low.

    I do still love to knit, but this year, I’ve taken on more hobbies. I’ve gone back to blogging, reading more, played badminton for a bit, tried to spin for a bit too, play the violin again, socialise and much more. All of this means I am spread more thinly in my leisure time, and honestly, that’s alright. I think I knit so much the last couple of years 2010 and 2011 – especially, the big three S’s: sweaters, scarves/shawls, and socks – that I will have enough handknits to last me awhile. I just am more careful about the projects I start, and I don’t feel the need to start projects as quickly after completing them.

    The problem is that I still continue to accumulate a lot of yarn. Not as much as when I knit more before, but still a good amount. This year had me joining the Hazel Knits sock club for a couple of months and the occasional yarn purchase. I also took up spinning briefly which means I now have a small spinning stash of fleece and roving.

    Here’s a summary and notes of the projects of this year.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO Fridays: Paper Totoros

    Paper Totoros

    This Totoro version of the Paper Dolls sweater is something I have wanted to do for a couple years now. After rewatching My Neighbor Totoro, it was definitely time to make this sweater. This is my homage to Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki.

    It didn’t quite work quite like I wanted it to. Mainly that even though I was at gauge, my yoke ended up a bit tighter, but I think worse of all, the underarm and sleeve cap is tiny. I’ve found that small arms are an issue with Kate Davies patterns. I can just get away with it because I don’t have big arms to begin with. It doesn’t look tight, but the upper arms are very restrictive. Relative to the upper body, the torso is on the looser side actually. I did extra waist decreases, but it still gave me some positive ease.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO Fridays: Taska

    Taska This knit purse was a stashbusting project from yarn from the first sweater I ever made: Aftur (Ravelry link). I had several left over balls from the main sweater and the fair isle. The designer probably foresaw this and designed this companion purse to go with it. Taska It is doubtful that I will use it often because I tend to like bigger bags. I don’t really wear the sweater often either, but only for outdoors activities such as skating and hiking which I don’t very often in general. I love this sweater though. It is very itchy so I always have to wear turtleneck underneath it, but it is very warm and it almost feels like I am wearing protective chain mail with it on. I love lopi wool.

    Taska, started September 10th, finished October 3rd 2012. Ravelry Project Page
    Pattern: Taska by Védís Jónsdóttir from Ístex Lopi No. 25 Ravelry Pattern Page
    Size: Blocked W 9.5″/25cm x H 10.5″/28cm
    Yarn: Ístex Létt-Lopi. Leftovers from my Aftur sweater. Here the original amounts I started with, and all leftovers from the original 12 bought for the sweater, save the last brown one. I only used up the brown and the orange one. Still have a fair amount of the others left:

    • Oatmeal: 32g+34g
    • Black Heather: 21g
    • White: 35g
    • Mustard: 41g
    • Crimson Red: 42g
    • Orange: 48g – Even though I had a full skein of this, ran out of this in the lining and had to finish with the Mustard.
    • Brown: 23g – I had little of the the black to start off, but I used leftover brown (23 g) from another lopi project to replace it. I also used this brown for the strap.

    Needles: HiyaHiya #7/4.5mm and #6/4.0mm 40″/100cm metal circulars. The latter only for the strap. Also a 4.0mm crochet hook for the loop.
    Modifications & Notes:

    • Judy’s Magic Cast-On for the start so I wouldn’t need to sew the bottom closed
    • Used a tutorial for the crochet loop tutorial. I am not a good crocheter so I did my best and it’s not neat, but it’s rather sturdy.
    • Slipped first stitch of every row the strap. Knit until I ran out of yarn which was around 115cm.
    • Blocked the strap and the bag before sewing them and the button on.
    • The strap is too long though, I would make it about 30cm shorter for someone of average height. I sewed it deep down into the bag for the result.

    Tools/Notions: One button.
    Cost of Project: Whatever the small fraction from the original 12 skeins I bought from the sweater ($65CAD) + the brown + the button.
    Would I knit it again? No, but I do like this pattern as a stashbuster.

    Have a good weekend! For more FOs, go to Tami’s Amis.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    WIP Wednesday: Paper Totoros

    WIP Paper Totoros

    Lately, I have been working on the Paper Dolls pattern by Kate Davies, but I am doing the Totoros variation. I’m using Sandnes Garns Sisu cream, green and dark grey for the Totoros so it will resemble the big one in the film. It was the most cost effective twisted yarn that I could find, and actually, it’s not bad so far. Just a tad fuzzy. I really like the look of the corrugated ribbing which I knit the MC White in my right hand and the CC1 Green in my left with Norwegian Purling.

    Someone on Ravelry gave me their Totoro spreadsheet, but I modified the decreases for my own size which took about an hour of maths. I’ve only made about three waist decreases so far and I’m decreasing faster in the pattern because I am making a smaller waist than for the size 6/34″ that I am making. I think I am mostly on gauge with my 2.75mm though I may need to change needles for the yoke to be smaller since many people seem to lit a bit looser for stranded work. Furthermore, my chart is taller than the one in the pattern.

    I am knitting a bit less these days since I have so many other hobbies going on. I still love to knit and am doing it regularly, but I am trying to achieve a balance with it. Before, I use to knit every day, and now, I am much better at knitting in big bursts every few days. The projects take longer, but I really need to cut back my knitting for other things.

    What’s on your needles today?

    For more WIP Wednesdays, go to Tami’s Amis.